It's been nine years since we last visited the wastelands in Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller's bombastic action film that captured lightning in a bottle with eye-popping visuals and breathtaking stunts. It's time to rev up your engines again though for Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, a prequel that brings us the backstory of one of cinema's great modern protagonists.

Snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers, young Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) falls into the hands of a great biker horde led by the warlord Dementus (Chris Hemsworth). Sweeping through the Wasteland, they come across the Citadel, presided over by the Immortan Joe. As the two tyrants fight for dominance, Furiosa soon finds herself in a nonstop battle to make her way home.
Furiosa is a much different beast to Fury Road, and that's absolutely fine. After all, we don't just want the same film again from George Miller. Instead, Furiosa looks to explore the titular character more and delve into what exactly made her the formidable force to be reckoned with. In doing this, Miller adds another eccentric layer to an absolutely bonkers franchise that has always been looking to stray away from the conventional path. Split into five segments, Furiosa takes vital time to piece together her incredibly harrowing backstory of loss that ultimately leads her down a road of revenge, with spectacular results. While a little bloated and feeling as if it could do with some trimming, Furiosa remains a compelling prequel to witness, even if we know exactly where she ends up prior to the events of Fury Road.

Scattered throughout the backstory are some pulsating action sequences that, while not as frequent as in Fury Road, make you sit back and just think "How did they actually film that?!" over and over again. It's yet another example of how much work and effort stunt performers and crews put in to ensure the action sequences we get are so utterly breathtaking. George Miller is just one of those directors that can make vehicular carnage look like beautifully organised chaos so effortlessly.

The vast wastelands are a sight to behold as Simon Duggan's cinematography showcases some breathtaking wide shots of the landscape. The way the chase sequences are shot too inject so much energy into the film, the zooms in particular adding to the chaos. Save for some glaring visual effects at times, this is as visually appealing as the previous film. It's all set, once again, to Tom Holkenborg's score that utilises drums and guitars so brilliantly. His work here on Furiosa has to be a bit more restrained than in Fury Road, based on the quieter nature of some stints of the film, and Holkenborg proves he can do both.
Front and centre of Furiosa is two incredible performances from Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. The former has big shoes to fill in the titular role, Charlize Theron doing such stellar work in Fury Road, and she excels at making her own mark on the character's history - the yearning she has to return to the "Green Place" in the previous film understandable as a result. She doesn't have much dialogue in the film yet Taylor-Joy possesses such emotive eyes that provide the intensity embodied by Furiosa. Then there's Chris Hemsworth as Dementus, the despicable leader of the Biker Horde and the target for Furiosa's path of revenge. Hemsworth truly is an unhinged delight here and it easily goes down as one of his best performances to date.

It may take a little while to get going compared to Fury Road, which moved at a breakneck speed throughout, but Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is another fascinating piece of work from George Miller. Whether we see any more of these from the visionary director remains to be seen but at least he gave us one of the wildest rides through such an eccentric franchise.

Verdict: ★★★★


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